En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Native plants for limestone ledge with thin soil in Austin, TX

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - February 14, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Native plants for limestone ledge with thin soil in Austin, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

My back yard is essentially a limestone ledge with less than an inch of soil on the top in full sun. What native plants can live in this environment? Since I can't really dig a hole, maybe I should start with wildflower seeds.

ANSWER:

Here are some candidate native plants that should do well in thin, calcareous soils:

Grasses/Grasslike
Lindheimer muhly (Muhlenbergia lindheimeri)
Texas Sedge (Carex texensis)
Purple three-awn (Aristida purpurea)

Herbaceous Perennials
Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthum)
Prairie Verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida)
Mealy blue sage (Salvia farinacea)
Four-nerve daisy (Tetraneuris scaposa)
Hill Country Penstemon (Penstemon triflorus)

Herbaceous Annuals
Greenthread (Thelesperma filifolium)
Scarlet Sage (Salvia coccinea)
Yellow Stonecrop (Sedum nuttallianum)

Perennial Shrubs/Shrublike
Damianita (Chrysactinia mexicana)
Rose mallow (Pavonia lasiopetala)
Texas Lantana (Lantana urticoides)
Agarita (Mahonia trifoliata)

Although your soil is thin, you might find some places deep enough to plant some of the shrubs. They are all especially well-suited to your conditions. Regarding the herbaceous annuals, they should readily reseed themselves if the mature seed heads are left on the plants to disperse.

Many of these plants can be bought as seeds from Native American Seed in Junction, Texas. You can also check our National Suppliers Directory for other nurseries and seed companies that specialize in native plants in your area. Additionally, the majority of these plants will be for sale at our Spring Plant Sale for 2007 beginning Friday, April 13 (1 to 7PM) with a preview sale for Wildflower Center members only. The sale for the general public will be held Saturday and Sunday (9AM-5PM), April 14 and 15. Please check the Wildflower Center web page closer to the weekend of the sale for a list of the plants available and for more information about the sale.

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Fall blooming native Texas wildflowers
July 30, 2007 - Hello, Mr. Smarty Plants, I'm a writer working on a historical set in TX in 1821 in the fall. My characters travel from the piney woods in east TX to the South Plain around San Antonio in Sept and e...
view the full question and answer

Can I grow Texas bluebonnets in Georgia?
May 25, 2010 - Being a native Texan, my mom loves bluebonnets. We live in Georgia, however so I am wondering if I planted some bluebonnets in her yard would they grow? What are the best conditions for bluebonnets ...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower preparation for winter
October 22, 2009 - I live in Onieda New York and I would like to know what do I do with my wild flowers before winter so they look great next year?
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnet stencil for furniture
March 16, 2009 - where or who would sell furniture stancils of bluebonnets
view the full question and answer

Is Annual Rye Choking Out Wildflowers in Austin?
January 15, 2011 - We live about 3 miles from the wildflower center on 3 acres and there is a natural area on our property that gets a lot of wildflowers. Last winter we threw out annual rye seed to have some greenery ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center